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The Simple Dollar: How One Man Wiped Out His Debts and Achieved the Life of His Dreams Paperback – June 19, 2010

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Editorial Reviews


As seen in USA Today .

From the Back Cover

Struggling with debt?

Frustrated about work?

Just not satisfied with life?


“Trent Hamm set out to boost his happiness by freeing himself from debt. This account of how he succeeded, and how he was able to construct the life he'd always wanted, will inspire readers to put his ideas to work in their own lives.

-Gretchen Rubin, author of the #1New York Timesbest seller,THE HAPPINESS PROJECT


The Simple Dollarpaves the way to an uncluttered financial and richly rewarding life. Trent's experiential advice prepares readers for the expected-and most importantly the unexpected-complexities of the modern economic world. Live debt free, mind the gap, and find a framework to get the secure and happy life you desire.

-Erin Rooney Doland, author ofUnclutter Your Life in One Weekand Editor-in-Chief,


“If you feel like your finances are out of control, readThe Simple Dollar. Trent Hamm burns with the unforgettable fire of someone who has gone from debt to wealth, and this book can inspire you to do the same.

-J.D. Roth, author ofYour Money: The Missing Manualand editor of


The Simple Dollarcan change your life.

Trent Hamm found himself drowning in consumer debt, working in a job he couldn't stand...and figured out how to escape that debt and build the fulfilling career he'd always dreamt about, all at the same time.


Hamm shared his experiences at—and built it into one of America's top personal finance websites. Now, The Simple Dollar is a book: packed with practical tips, tools, and lessons you can use to transform your life, too.


This isn't just “another personal finance book: it's profoundly motivating, empowering, practical, and 100% grounded in today's American realities. Trent Hamm will show you how to rewrite the rules, creating healthier relationships with money...and with your loved ones, too. With his help, you can get out of debt, start moving forward, and build the strong personal community that offers true happiness—no matter what happens to the economy.


·       Escape the plastic prison, and stop running to stand still

5 simple steps to eliminate credit card debt...and 5 more to start moving forward


·       Shift your life's balance towards more positive, stronger relationships

Learn how to put the golden rule to work for you


·       Discover the power of goals in a random world

Then, learn how to overcome inertia, and transform goals into reality


·       Navigate the treacherous boundaries between love and money

Move towards deeper communication, greater honesty, and more courage




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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: FT Press; 1 edition (June 19, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0137054254
  • ISBN-13: 978-0137054251
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #621,134 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Trent Hamm transformed his life, escaping both massive consumer debt and work he couldn't stand. He began sharing the lessons he learned through his web site, The Simple Dollar (, which has quickly grown into one of the nation's most popular personal finance sites. He is author of The Simple Dollar: How One Man Wiped Out His Debts and Achieved the Life of His Dreams and 365 Ways to Live Cheap: Your Everyday Guide to Saving Money. Trent also contributes articles to, American Express' Small Business forum.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

151 of 161 people found the following review helpful By Patricia Tryon on July 7, 2010
Format: Paperback
Three stars -- right in the middle -- isn't a rating I "award" very often; usually my views tip one way or the other.

In this case, I think the book might be worth five stars to those who:

* are fairly young and unknowledgeable about personal finances;
* find inspiration in personal stories related by a peer (or age cohort);
* prefer to have a hard copy of text instead of reading information readily accessed on the Web;
* or those who do not use the Internet at all.

But there are others for whom the book would not rate more than a single star, such as those who:

* have some background in managing their money and have read other books on debt reduction;
* read personal finance blogs such as this author's and the blog of one of his endorsers and do not feel the need for a hard copy of the material;
* might have trouble relating to a young man who has, so far, faced only a young man's problems. "Over the years" is, in reality, only a few years for this writer. Some might find this off-putting.

I am not certain that there are more people in the former category than in the latter, so simply on content, style, and utility, I'll give this three stars.

For myself, however, I tip clearly toward the latter group. I read personal finance blogs to find new information and, in terms of getting out of debt, there is simply nothing new to say. Do it. If you need tips on how to do so and if you are Web-literate enough to be reading this review, you can use search engines.

But there are constantly new nuggets about frugality to be gleaned. That's why I look at personal finance blogs, including this writer's.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Holly TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 13, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I picked this up on my Kindle, I assumed I was getting a book loaded with financial guidance. Long a believer in debt-free living, I still enjoy picking up these types of books - they are very reinforcing when swimming upstream from the way most American families operate and I often get tidbits of wisdom that come in very handy. I wasn't aware of the author's blog until after reading this book, but it appears to be very interesting and I have added to my "Favorites" on my computer.

Regarding this book -- take a moment before purchasing to look at the table of contents. The first chapter is about reducing debt (or ideally becoming debt free) and while fairly basic, is helpful. Good, solid financial advice. The remainder of the book really leans more toward life improvement, knowing yourself, following your dreams, etc. but the tie-in is that most of these things can't be accomplished if you are drowning in debt. For example: You can't take that new job with a startup company that doesn't pay much initially if you need the monthly paycheck from the job you are currently in. It gives an excellent explanation of the difference between frugal and cheap. Frugal is aligning your spending with what you truly value and gives you pleasure - it's not negative, just smart.

These are only two examples of what is contained in this book, but it is loaded with all kinds of thought provoking data and suggestions for anyone willing to open their mind and question the status quo. It intertwines financial health with quality of life and I found it to be an excellent guide for all ages.

A definite winner though not a financial how-to book as expected.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By M M Frank on April 12, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Hamm makes some good points in this book, but unfortunately the reader has to wade through so much dross and redundancy to find them that they lose a lot of their impact. He could just as easily have written a book containing the same information at half the length, though economy in writing is not Hamm's forte, as anyone who has ever read his blog has doubtlessly noticed. Rather than writing a concise, user-friendly personal finance guide, Hamm tediously stretches this work into a 270 page tome that would be completely exhausting if it weren't so redundant.

The following paragraph appears three times VERBATIM in the book before chapter five (of a nineteen chapter work):
"It's easy to be resistant to the idea of setting goals. It requires introspection, commitment, and facing your fears. Yet, without clear, written goals with discrete follow-ups, it is substantially harder to achieve significant gains in life. Without them, it's likely nothing will change in your life."

I understand repeating yourself to make a point, but in this case, it appears to be bad editing, and there are several other examples of the same repeated sentences and phrases throughout the book. There are a fair number of typos too, but I'm sure there are typos in this review, so I'm not going to bust him for that.

Hamm has good if fairly typical and conventional things to say, but the way the book is written makes it almost excruciating for the reader to muddle through it. He intersperses solid financial advice with a bunch of squishy personal-development crap and at times it seems like he is writing purely for length rather than to entertain, inform, or persuade the reader. If he were to revise it by whittling out about 150 pages of unnecessary wordiness, reiteration, and irrelevant bloviating, it might be a book I would recommend to others, but as it stands now, not so much.
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